Highlighted by Shinsuke Nakamura’s return to WWE, SmackDown featured a series of solid matches and great storyline development when Paul Heyman announced that a WrestleMania rematch between Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn against The Usos will take place in the not too future. far. . Also on the show, Liv Morgan and Raquel Rodriguez celebrated their tag title win, the LWO tried to get revenge on Judgment Day, Gunther and Xavier Woods had words, and Matt Riddle sought to settle the score with Solo Sikoa.
These are the winners and losers of SmackDown, April 14, 2023:
Win/Loser: The Usos warn Owens and Zayn
The opening of the show saw the new WWE Tag Team Champions talking about their victory at Wrestlemania. That didn’t sit well with The Bloodline, who came out to tell Owens and Zayn that they shouldn’t get too used to having the titles. His plan was clearly to get them back. A fight broke out between Owens, Zayn, The Usos, and Sikoa, with Riddle jumping in and getting involved. The babyfaces cleared the ring, but this is just the beginning of this six-person rivalry.
This was a pretty standard opening for a show. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great. The good news is that fans are interested in both teams, so the crowd made it feel a bit more entertaining than it really was.
Winner: Xavier Woods gets a big win
Not everyone is going to love the fact that the LA Knight lost another game, or the fact that Xavier Woods gets a show from his competition on the most popular Knight, but Woods is a good transitional opponent for Gunther who needs a new challenger. for the Intercontinental Championship. There’s no way Woods will win this, but he’s a somewhat credible challenger who will keep Gunther’s winning streak alive while keeping him active and defending the title.
These are two very different styles that come into this dispute. Gunther called Woods a fool and said he was going to beat his respects out of him. It’s hard not to trust him right now. As for Knight, let’s hope Triple H has a plan for this character. He has to admit how tired he is of the fans and continually losing (even though he can get away with it) is not a good long-term strategy.
Winner: Santos Escobar vs Damian Priest
A Judgment Day without Finn Balor was on hand to support Priest when he faced Santos Escoabr, who was flanked by the rest of Legado del Fantasma. The crowd was at this entertaining and physical match. As expected, with so many people at ringside and with factions at war, things broke down and members of both sides got involved. The chaos led to Priest getting a cheap win.
Rey Mysterio joined the fray afterwards, stopping Priest from going through a table with Escobar. Rey and Dom went for it and Priest pulled Dominik to safety. This was a wise reservation as WWE wants to keep friction between Rey and Dominik high, as the two factions continue to turn on each other. This was also a strong combination, which is not often expected in these types of stories.
Loser: celebration of the women’s couples championship
This segment was not very good. It felt like an afterthought when Liv Morgan and Raquel Rodriguez spoke flatly about their upset win over Becky Lynch and Trish Stratus. They were quickly interrupted by Chelsea Green and Sonya Deville, who said that listening to them was making them more and more dumb. Deville did a decent job of warming up with the crowd and then questioned how the new champions are even credible champions. Green later said that she was upset that they were being passed over. Green said they deserved a celebration and a chance and Liv had enough, chasing down would-be challengers and fending them off.
WWE needs to do some serious work with the women’s tag division and this week it looks like they are actually a step back from where things were not too long ago with Lynch and Lita as champions.
Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura
The King of Strong Style is back and WWE signed him as a star who is getting a big boost. He essentially crushed Madcap Moss in his return match and while it seems a little strange that WWE would put two baby faces together in the ring, the idea was to get Nakamura to win quickly. WWE then teased a feud between Karrion Kross and Nakamaura, which should go a long way towards elevating Nakamura back to the top of the card.
WWE needed to make sure Nakamura looked strong and they did. WWE gave Nakamura the full ticket. This is such an important part of convincing you fans, it’s a good thing that creativity isn’t rushed. Fans love getting into Nakamura’s spirit. Leave them.
Winner: Solo Sikoa vs. Matt Riddle
Special Counsel Paul Heyman announced that The Usos will challenge Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn for the undisputed WWE Tag Team Titles in a historic WrestleMania rematch in two weeks and stressed that this could be the last straw for the Usos with The Head of the Table, Roman. Queen. Sami Zayn had already noted that Reigns was probably losing his temper and Heyman didn’t shy away from reiterating it.
This was a solid main event with a great match feel. It was a bit surprising that WWE put this together considering they didn’t promote it in advance. When you consider why Riddle was out for so long, this was a match that WWE could have gotten something out of if they had promoted him sooner. There will be fans who don’t like how things ended. Riddle essentially beat Sikoa and then gave up getting the win to attack The Usos on the outside. It wasn’t logical, but it could be argued that Riddle had tunnel vision and was trying to get revenge. Maybe the win didn’t matter. But it ended up costing Riddle the match, as the distraction allowed Sikoa to apply the Samoan Spike for the win.
Sikoa went after Riddle after his victory. He tipped the announce table over to Riddle and the show ended with The Bloodline standing. It was a time when the sent message was not supposed to cross the executor. In that sense, WWE did a good job of developing his character as someone who can do a lot of damage. This likely won’t be the only matchup fans will see between Riddle and Sikoa.